“His name is Shawn Brown and he’s not a statistic.”

For National School Choice Week, School Choice Ohio highlighted the story of Shawn Brown. Shawn was teased at his public school because he has cerebral palsy.

Shawn’s mother’s concern for her son’s education is undeniable. She reached out to School Choice Ohio to find another option for him. Shawn qualified for the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program which gave him the opportunity to attend Creative Learning Workshop. Now, Shawn is looking forward to fulfilling his dreams after graduation.

National School Choice Week gives families the opportunity to highlight how their children have benefitted from School Choice. We have made some positive strides in Ohio, but have a long way to go until all children have educational freedom. We can do this by holding hypocritical elected officials accountable for denying these opportunities to all children.

Former State Representative, Seth Morgan, who is a strong advocate for School Choice told me,

“Any attempt to roll back the efforts made toward providing children,
parents, and guardians a choice in education is a travesty. On the
contrary, here in Ohio, we haven’t gone far enough and should be working to
expand educational options. Every parent or guardian who cares enough to
take a proactive effort on behalf of their child’s education is fulfilling
the great responsibility and right they have – and they should be encouraged
to do so. If we want great outcomes in education, we must have parents
engaged in their children’s educational futures. Educational liberty
through choice is at the center of that effort.”

Children like Shawn need us to continue fighting for this cause.

School Choice is a Civil Right

Photo credit: Cindy Schultz / Times Union

This is National School Choice Week. It is a week to celebrate the accomplishments that have been made regarding educational freedom. It is also is a good time to look towards the future.

In Ohio, over 30,000 students received vouchers that allow them to attend a school other than their local district school. Many more children are homeschooled. School Choice empowers parents to make the proper decisions regarding their children’s education. While we have made great strides regarding school choice, we have a long way to go until each child has the proper educational opportunities.

Most children’s only educational choice is determined by their zip code. This leaves some of them in failing schools or schools that just don’t meet their needs. Many minority or less affluent children are not provided with the proper educational tools. For these children, School Choice can be seen as a civil rights issue.

Milwaukee Public Schools has a voucher program. In 2006, radio ads which implored then Wisconsin Governor Doyle to lift the cap on the number of vouchers issued. Listen below.

The highly effective ads touted School Choice as a civil right. As a result of these ads, 50% more Milwaukee children received vouchers the following school year.

The OEA has endorsed Ed Fitzgerald’s gubernatorial campaign. Clearly, they see Ed as someone who will stifle School Choice, which has been expanded under Governor Kasich. Ads, like those that aired in Wisconsin could be very effective in in the Cleveland area, which has over 7,000 children benefiting from vouchers.

Ed Fitzgerald: Anti-Choice?

School Choice empowers parents to be able to make the best academic decisions for their children. Parents certainly know what is best for their children. Unfortunately, education is big business and some special interests are very much concerned about protecting their bottom line.

The Ohio Education Association endorsed Fitzgerald stating,

“As Governor, he would take the state in a new and more promising direction – away from the current trend to privatize public education – and toward more equitable and sustained state support of local public education.”

Basically, Ed Fitzgerald is not an advocate for School Choice. This is rather ironic for a man who sends his children to Catholic Schools. The hypocrisy here is thick. Candidate Fitzgerald likes to pretend that he is a champion of the middle and lower classes. Does he believe those families should be able to have the same opportunities as his own children?

What does Ed think about homeschooling? Would he support a bill like “Teddy’s Law” which was quickly defeated by home school parents who sprang into action as soon as they realized they would be subject to getting approval from social services to be permitted to educate their own children? From Maggie Thurber of Thurbers Thoughts:

The law would “require a public children services agency to recommend whether a child should be admitted to an Internet or computer-based community school or excused by a school district superintendent from attendance at school for home education.”

The Home School Legal Defense Association was more specific in their analysis:

“It requires all parents who home school to undergo a social services investigation which would ultimately determine if homeschooling would be permitted. Social workers would have to interview parents and children separately, conduct background checks and determine whether homeschooling is recommended or not. If it is not recommended, parents would have to submit to an ‘intervention’ before further consideration of their request to home school.”

Would he sign a bill like this that wouldn’t allow parents to make educational choices?

School Choice options need to continue to be expanded in Ohio, but there are special interests that don’t want this to happen. This is about control. Who is best qualified at making educational choices for your children? By making such a poor choice for his first running mate, Fitzgerald has proven to me that he is not qualified to make any decisions regarding our children’s education.

A Unifying Choice

The word “choice” is word that often has many political ramifications. This word needs to be politically reassigned by the GOP. Rather than being attached to a faux #WaronWomen, this word needs to be front and center in the 2014 election cycle as a tool many parents crave, educational freedom.

2013 was a banner year for School Choice in Ohio. 31,379 students used vouchers this year. That is an increase of 4,311 from 2012. Vouchers are in such a demand in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District that there is currently a wait list.

As the programs expand, expect to hear more stories from parents, like Tera Myers, who have experienced the difference educational choices have provided her children. These personal stories demonstrating the impact School Choice has had on these families will only broaden the support for the movement.

According to the “Schooling in America Survey” conducted in May by the Friedman Foundation, 69% of mothers of school aged children support scholarship tax credits. Parents want educational options. They want the educational freedom that school choice provides.

School Choice is a pivotal issue, which should be repeatedly highlighted in the 2014 election cycle. It’s an issue that unifies and motivates parents across the political spectrum. As a mother whose children attend both public and parochial schools, I can attest to the fact that there isn’t a cookie cutter solution to education. What works best for one child may not work for the other.

That is why educational freedom is so important. Parents know what is in the best interest of their children and deserve to have the tools available to make those choices.

Dear Mr. President, I Am More Than A Uterus!

Low enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges is well documented. While many Americans have had their healthcare plans cancelled because of Obamacare, few have actually “taken advantage” of the exchange.

No worries! In an attempt to bolster those numbers, ProgressNow Colorado and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative have launched a “Got Insurance?” campaign. This ad featuring Susie, who is “Hot to Trot” for Nate, certainly set a new low in the left’s belittling of women.

Insulting Obamacare ad from ProgressNow Colorado and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
Insulting Obamacare ad from ProgressNow Colorado and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative

These advertisements have simply highlighted what I have recognized for many years. The left apparently views a woman as a uterus that votes. As a woman, this enrages me. The real #WaronWomen is the war launched from the left to stereotype women into thinking we are consumed with thoughts of partying, easy sex and abortion.

Guess what “gentlemen”? We have brains. We have self control. And some of us have daughters who we want to protect from your objectification.

Last year the Obama-Biden campaign said to, “Vote like your lady parts depend on it.” It appears as though viewing women as walking “lady parts” seems to be a central plank of the progressive platform and one which the Obama campaign found acceptable.

Is this what feminism has morphed into? Rather than showcasing successful business women or mothers, progressives would rather showcase party girls on the prowl. This makes me wonder. What do Obamacare supporters Sherrod Brown and Connie Schultz think? Are they “Hot to Trot” about using sex and sexism to sell young women on Obamacare?